Contact(s): Keith Warnke, 608-576-5243; Joanne M. Haas, 608- 209-8147
January 12, 2016
Keith Warnke, Department of Natural Resources hunting and shooting sports coordinator, says learn to hunt events show novice hunters how harvesting their own food from Wisconsin's country sides is what makes the state's hunting traditions a favorite among seasoned hunters.
"Many adults who did not come from hunting families and are interested in hunting often have no idea how to start," Warnke said. "These Learn to Hunt events are a great way for them to learn in a controlled and safe environment with an experienced hunter. If you are interested in a new and rewarding experience, give me a call."
Warnke says winter's tightening grip is the perfect time to plan your Learn to Hunt turkey event.
Learn to Hunt events truly are for interested novices who would not otherwise have the chance to explore hunting which, Warnke adds, is key to successfully preserving our conservation heritage.
Recruiting and retaining new hunters along with reengaging hunters who haven't been out in a while is a priority for Wisconsin and the national hunting community as a whole.
"Accountability and outcomes are key to success," Warnke said. "By that I mean asking ourselves if the program really created a new hunter; someone who would not otherwise have hunted."
To do that DNR is recognizing an opportunity and providing a service to people interested in hunting, but lacking a pathway to begin.
"The composition of Learn to Hunt events has continued to evolve, with increasing focus on food," Warnke said. "We have seen a big demand for our classes from young adults and I think it would be really easy for groups, clubs, and mentors to copy our blueprint of reaching out to adults and families."
Learn to Hunt events may be scheduled before, during or after the six spring turkey time periods. However, most are held in late March and early April. Interested individuals and clubs will want to get started now to complete the necessary steps.
The department has made it easy for sponsors to organize Learn to Hunt events with on-line applications, reimbursement opportunities, assistance in finding event insurance and event advertising on the DNR's website.
Sponsors will need to submit a completed application form to the local wildlife biologist for approval, and should make sure at least one of the event instructors is a certified Hunter Education Instructor. Mentors assisting in the event will need to submit an application to be a mentor. Following the event, sponsors must submit a report of event participants and may apply for a $25 reimbursement per participant to assist with event costs. In addition, Warnke says the program will help advertise events by posting them on the Learn to Hunt page of the DNR website and the Hunter's Network Facebook page.
For those of you interested in taking hunter education there are more courses being offered now than any other time of year, so go the dnr.wi.gov and type "hunter safety" into the keyword search box to get more information